Will the across-the-board budget cuts required by the Budget Control Act of 2011 reduce services provided by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office?
In the short term, not likely. According to the Patent Office Professional Association:
While the White House through OPM has designated the USPTO to take a $242 Million hit with sequestration, the agency should not feel a practical hit from that cut in funding. That is because the sequestration amount is taken off of our appropriated funds. However, we are only allowed to spend what we take in through our fee income. . . [Currently] we are funded at . . . about 2.7 Billion. However, our current fee income is running somewhat less than 2.5 B. So even if we took off the 242M sequestration, it only brings us down to about what we are taking in through fees anyhow.
Because of this, patent and trademark applicants are not likely to see any immediate reductions in service. However, given the current fiscal crisis, it’s always possible that Congress could change the rules for USPTO funding in the future. In addition, the potential (although unlikely) prospect of a total government shutdown on March 27, 2013 would affect the USPTO just like all other “non-essential” government programs.
President Obama has issued an executive order that closes all executive branch offices and agencies on Monday, December 24, 2012.
For the patent and trademark community, this means that most U.S. Patent and Trademark Office filings that were due on December 24 are now due December 26, which is the next day that the USPTO will be open.
The full text of the executive order is available here.
2011 was an active year in the IP news front. 14 U.S. District Courts implemented a Patent Pilot Program. The USPTO implemented, withdrew, and then again implemented a program for fast track review of patent applications. And, or course, the U.S. Congress passed the America Invents Act, with many significant changes to U.S. patent laws.
The good folks at Think IP Strategy have captured all of 2011’s IP news in a new publication, the 2011 IP Think Tank Almanac. The Almanac provides day-by-day updates, with formatting to allow links to common topic or keyword-based searching.
The 2011 IP Think Tank Almanac is available from the Think IP Strategy website.
I’m excited to let IP Spotlight readers know that I’ve joined the law firm of Fox Rothschild LLP. Fox Rothschild is a full-service firm with over 500 attorneys, 16 offices ranging from New York and Florida to Los Angeles and San Francisco, and over 100 years of history. Our intellectual property practice has over 70 attorneys, including more than 40 registered patent attorneys and agents with deep technical backgrounds in a wide variety of industries. I will reside in Fox’s Pittsburgh, PA office.
I look forward to continuing to publish news and tips about IP and business from my new location. To reach me at Fox Rothschild, my contact information is email@example.com
Regular readers of this blog may have noticed that over the past month or so, my posts have not been quite as frequent as usual. Well, change is in the air at IP Spotlight, so stay tuned for an exciting announcement. I expect to be back up to my usual blogging pace very soon. Thanks for your patience!
This week’s episode of This American Life included an interesting story about a 1979 newspaper article that appeared to reveal one of the most closely guarded trade secrets in the world: the formula for Coca-Cola.
In the new program, the reporters find the source of the 1979 article, and they put the formula to the test by preparing a batch and comparing it to The Real Thing. Is it? Listen online or download the podcast by visiting the This American Life website.
What do patent attorneys and foodies have in common? Both will enjoy the latest episode of Freakonomics Radio: “Waiter, There’s a Physicist in My Soup.” The hosts interview Nathan Myhrvold, founder of Intellectual Ventures and author of a new book on the science of cooking.
In the episode, Myhrvold discusses molecular gastronomy, how to make the perfect hamburger, why he cuts ovens in half, and the future of food. Listeners also get an audio tour of the Intellectual Ventures’ corporate kitchen. To download the episode as a podcast or to listen online, click here.